A steady decline in daily COVID-19 cases across most of India, easing restrictions and an unprecedented heatwave across plains in North India has sent a lot of tourists to Manali and other hill stations in Himachal Pradesh. Oblivious of the pandemic and social distancing norms, a massive crowd is walking the mall road in pictures that are going viral on Twitter, leaving many angry and fearful of a third wave of COVID-19 in India.
This comes after Himachal government relaxed Covid-19 restrictions in the state last month, resulting in a huge influx of tourists to higher altitudes, particularly Shimla, Kullu-Manali, and Dharamsala. The hotel occupancy rate has also increased in the state in the past few weeks.
The removal of the condition of negative RTPCR reports and the e-Covid pass for entry into Himachal Pradesh has given a boost to the tourism industry there, a PTI report said.
“The occupancy rates in hotels vary between 60 and 90 percent during weekends, while between 40 and 45 percent on other days,” said Mohinder Seth, president of the Tourism Industry Stakeholder Association to PTI.
Photos of heavily crowded Manali streets started doing rounds on social media during the weekend, and this has lead to concern and disappointment regarding social distancing and safety, and a potential threat of third COVID-19 wave.
Check how netizens reacted: